Miscarriages of JusticeUK

Safety in Custody England and Wales Jan/Feb/March 2012

Prison population @ 31st march 2012 - 87,531 persons of these 83,313 (95.2% ) were male, 4,218 (4.8% ) female.

Assaults - Quarter 1 Jan/Feb/March 2012
Assaults: There were 3,725 assault incidents during Quarter 1 Jan/Feb/March 2012. Of these, 724 were on staff. The role of individual prisoners in assault incidents cannot always be distinguished. In some incidents, it is clear which prisoners are assailants and which are victims while in other incidents the roles are blurred. In the latter cases, those involved may be identified as 'fighters'. The roles are determined by local investigation of the incident.

Younger prisoners are more frequently involved in violence than older prisoners. In 2011, prisoners aged 15 to 20 accounted for 11 per cent of the prison population. However, they accounted 59 per cent of all fighters 46 per cent of assailants and 38 per cent of victims.

In the context of assault incidents, gender refers to the type of prison and not the gender of those involved in the incident. The reason for this is that in a small percentage of cases, assault incidents in a male prison will be on females - typically members of staff. Similarly, in female prisons, a small percentage of assaults will be on male staff.

There were 5,611 Self-Harm incidents in Quarter 1 Jan/Feb/March 2012. Of these 4,083 were male of these 323 required hospital treatment, and 1,528 female of these 38 required hospital treatment.

Though females only represent 4.8% of the prison population, they represent 27.2% of those self-harming.

Deaths in Prison Custody April 2011 to March 2012
Total deaths 211 of which: 66 were self inflicted, murder 1, natural causes 129, cause not known 15. A 'death in prison custody' is defined as any death of a person in prison custody arising from an incident occurring during (or, on rare occasions, immediately prior to) prison custody. This includes deaths of prisoners while released on temporary license (ROTL) for medical reasons but excludes deaths of any prisoners released on other types of temporary license. Until cause of death is confirmed at inquest, each death in prison custody is provisionally classified under one of the following causes: self-inflicted, natural causes, homicide.

Although the above concerns statistics, the incidents described are, by their nature, tragic and distressing to the prisoners, their families and staff.

Source: Ministry of Justice, Safety in Custody Statistics Quarter 1 Jan/Feb/Mar 2012, published 24th July 2012

*Self-harm in prison custody is defined as, "any act where a prisoner deliberately harms themselves irrespective of the method, intent or severity of any injury."

The majority of prisoners do not self-harm. In 2011, 43 per cent of females that self-harmed and 60 per cent of males did so once, while six per cent of females and one per cent of males did so more than 20 times.

Early days or arriving in a prison are the highest risk times for self-harm with the incidence reducing over time. In 2011, approximately 23 per cent of self-harm incidents occurred within the first month of arriving in a prison